Sunday, 23 March 2014

Roast Chicken with Maple Macadamia Stuffing

My parents never cooked a whole chicken, or even chicken legs or tights. So until I moved to Australia, I had never cooked a whole chicken. I have to say, now I know what it tastes like, I understand that some people only eat chicken off the bone. Chicken fillets as you buy them in the supermarket are often 'injected' with water so they look bigger. When you start cooking them, all the water comes out and instead of pan frying them you are stewing them. The chicken often gets chewy and you have to drain all the water.

Chicken off the bone or whole chicken also has a lot more flavour than chicken fillets. A lot of people prefer not to eat the skin because the fillet itself is lean and doesn't have as much fat in it as the chicken skin. The skin is so good though! Especially when it is beautifully roasted, and crunchy. 

This roast chicken (original recipe on Taste) is a bit different from your regular roasted chicken. The bacon adds a nice salty flavour to it and goes very well with the sweet maple syrup. The macadamia's add a nice crunch and the vegies are nice and soft and juicy. The colours are beautiful and if you are having guests over but you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, this chicken is perfect.

- unwaxed kitchen string (not to eat of course)
- a large whole chicken (2kg)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 4 cm pieces
- 8 tbs maple syrup (the original recipe calls for 2tbs, I like a bit more) (4 for the stuffing, and 4 for the chicken)
- 400 g punnet tomato medley
- 200 g punnet grape tomatoes
- 200g fresh green beans, trimmed
- fresh thyme sprigs (some for the filling, and some for the chicken)
- 1 brown onion
- 4 middle bacon rashers (the original recipe calls for 2)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 cups macademia nuts, chopped
- 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, lightly beaten

The recipe
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius (180 if fan forced).

First, make the maple macadamia stuffing. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat and cook the onion until softened. Add the bacon and the garlic. Stir for 5 minutes or so until the bacon has browned. Add the macadamias and stir for another 1 minute or so. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down slightly before adding the maple syrup (half), the breadcrumbs, the egg and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on a board and spoon the stuffing into the cavity. Secure with a toothpick to make sure that the filling does not fall out. Tie the legs together with the kitchen string. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and transfer to a large roasting pan. Drizzle the chicken with some olive oil and roast for 30 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 180 degrees (or 160 degrees fan forced) and roast the chicken for another 30 minutes.

Add the pumpkin to the pan and drizzle with some oil and 2tbs maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes. Turn the pumpkin now and then. Add the tomatoes to the pan, and add the remaining maple syrup. Roast for 15 minutes. The chicken is done when you insert a skewer and the juices run clear. 

The trick to getting a nice crispy skin is to constantly poor some of the chicken juices over the chicken. Towards the end you can poor a little maple syrup on top of the chicken. If you have some filling left (I had), sprinkle this over the dish. 

Boil the beans in some salted water 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender. Add to the roasting pan during the last 5 minutes. Remove the string from the chicken and serve with the vegetables.

This chicken was absolutely delicious and was so easy to make! It looked very pretty too! I would definitely eat this again!


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The content of this post by BehomeforT is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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